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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 04-08-2013, 12:49 PM   #1
pull_my_butt
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Default the kettle vs. the bullet

Hey brethren,

For those of ya'll who have smoked on both the kettle and the bullet, was there a HUGE significant difference in the product turnout? Let's omit mistakes and say that all things gone right, was there a difference?

I ask because I was in the process of getting a custom made smoker but the only pit builder near where I live never got back to me. So, I guess for now, it's going to have to be a lineup of kettles or a WSM until I can plan an out-of-state trip for a smoker.

If the larger WSM has two cooking racks and costs 400, I can get 2 kettles for 200 (in addition to my kettle now, which I'm very pleased with) and it's the same cooking area. Well, minus a bit because I'll have to place the coals on the opposite end of the meat on the kettle and thus, subtracting from the cooking area but no biggie.


What do ya'll think?

Cheers.
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Unread 04-08-2013, 12:51 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pull_my_butt View Post
Hey brethren,

For those of ya'll who have smoked on both the kettle and the bullet, was there a HUGE significant difference in the product turnout? Let's omit mistakes and say that all things gone right, was there a difference?

I ask because I was in the process of getting a custom made smoker but the only pit builder near where I live never got back to me. So, I guess for now, it's going to have to be a lineup of kettles or a WSM until I can plan an out-of-state trip for a smoker.

If the larger WSM has two cooking racks and costs 400, I can get 2 kettles for 200 (in addition to my kettle now, which I'm very pleased with) and it's the same cooking area. Well, minus a bit because I'll have to place the coals on the opposite end of the meat on the kettle and thus, subtracting from the cooking area but no biggie.


What do ya'll think?

Cheers.
there is a company that makes a center piece to convert your kettle into a WSM, maybe look at that?

I dont know the name, someone here will
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Unread 04-08-2013, 12:52 PM   #3
HeSmellsLikeSmoke
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Depends on what you want to do. The kettle is primarily for grilling, but you can smoke with it if you set it up properly.

The WSM is primarily for smoking but you can force it to grill by removing the middle section.
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Unread 04-08-2013, 12:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ButtBurner View Post
there is a company that makes a center piece to convert your kettle into a WSM, maybe look at that?

I dont know the name, someone here will
Cajun Bandit I believe. That is a good option.
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Unread 04-08-2013, 12:53 PM   #5
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Buy a WSM and have the capacity that multiple kettles provide with the ease of managing one fire (in a very stable platform I might add).

After cooking with my WSM, I would never to back to smoking in my kettle.
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Unread 04-08-2013, 01:06 PM   #6
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How about a kettle and a UDS?
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Unread 04-08-2013, 01:07 PM   #7
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There is a difference in cooking with either one, but, done properly and with experience, you can turn out excellent product with either cooker. As a person who owns a kettle and a UDS, I would gladly add a WSM and a PBC to my cooking tools. Each one cooks a little differently, allowing for more flexibility.

I think the process differences are quite clear, once you understand each cooker. I totally disagree with people who say you have to pay lots of attention to a kettle and little to a WSM. I can setup and run my kettle for 4 to 6 hours with no intervention. I would do the same with a WSM. The end product is also hard to distinguish, I can produce great product off of either one. But, the WSM footprint is MUCH smaller, relative to amount of food you can produce.
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Unread 04-08-2013, 02:05 PM   #8
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A Cajun Bandit conversion kit is a great idea http://cajunbandit.com/
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Unread 04-08-2013, 05:27 PM   #9
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The issue with the kettle as opposed to the WSM is that with the 18.5" WSM you have 481 sq in of cooking space in total. The OTG kettle has 363 sq in of total cooking space, but you will likely have to use 1/3 to 1/2 of that to cook indirect, thus reducing your total cook space to 182-240 sq in of cooking space. That is a big diff. :) By the way I have a Performer and a 18.5" WSM. Use the performer for grilling with wood and the WSM for smoking. Also the gaser gets used for "quicker" cooks lol
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Unread 04-08-2013, 05:46 PM   #10
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I'd take the kettle you have and try smoking on it a couple times. Whether you get a cajun bandit conversion, their stacker kit, a smoke-ez or whatever - i'd try it before you go buy two more.

I have a OTG 22.5 with a smokenator setup - it works extremely well, but it requires a bit of attention for temp. I'm happy with it for shorter cooks (ribs/chicken/etc) but don't have the patience to go the distance with a brisket or shoulder on it.

That said, i'm in the same situation as you are, and I'm saving up for a WSM.

The UDS option is tempting, but I appreciate the ability to break the WSM down and store easier. And my wife doesn't appreciate the charm of the "U" in UDS.
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Unread 04-08-2013, 05:56 PM   #11
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A UDS does develop 'character' over time. Then again, so do BBQ cooks.
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Unread 04-08-2013, 06:03 PM   #12
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Temp control is easier on the WSM compared to the kettle. The daisy wheel bottom vents allow much finer control of air flow. The next difference is space for a water pan or other heat diffuser between the charcoal and bottom grate. The WSM is designed from the ground up to smoke and IMO does it well. I'm happy with kettles for grilling and indirect cooks.
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Unread 04-08-2013, 06:11 PM   #13
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I like my UDS. It permanently sits in one obscure corner of my patio under a cheap smoker cover, exposed to the elements, ready to fire at any moment... :)
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Unread 04-08-2013, 06:31 PM   #14
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I use my kettle for smaller, shorter cooks, the way a mini WSM might be used. I also grill on my kettle.

As others have stated a WSM:
Has a much larger cooking area.
Is easier to control the temperature.
Will cook longer without having to refuel.

All things being equal, the food comes out the same.

Get a WSM.

Good luck.
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Unread 04-08-2013, 08:44 PM   #15
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I have an 18.5 WSM, a mini WSM, and several kettles. I use them all for smoking. The WSM has a clear advantage when I want to do a lot of stuff and/or cook a long time. It is the only thing I use for pork butts because when I do them I do at least two and most times four at a time because it takes virtually the same amount of time and effort. The WSM takes the most effort and time to clean afterwards so that is also a consideration. I have really fallen in love with the mini WSM but it is a specialized tool for me. I use it for relatively short cooks less than six hours. For example, it works great for two slabs of BB ribs each cut in half. It is also perfect for pork loins and pork tenderloins. It is my go to option for fatties and moinks. I like to use 22.5 inch kettles, my Performer in particular, for single slabs of ribs. I prefer to do low and slow using firebricks. I also like to use the kettles for first time cooks because it provides easy access to the product and seems to not be as sensitive to opening and closing the lid as the others. It is also the easiest to set up and clean. When it comes to direct or indirect high heat grilling, the kettle is made to do that. You can do it with a WSM, but it is far from ideal.

Bottom line is when comparing a WSM to a kettle you are not comparing a Ford to a Chevy…you are comparing a pickup truck to a family sedan. There is lots of overlap, but they are made to basically do different things.
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